Harassment Compliance Training: Everything You Should Know

Harassment Compliance Training: Everything You Should Know

The Facts

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Harassment compliance training must be provided by companies because the US Supreme Court has stated that to reduce their liability for harassment claims, companies must teach employees and managers, entail staff to report occurrences of abusive behavior, meticulously investigate all accounts, and take corrective action as needed.

According to a poll conducted by Stop Street Harassment, 81 percent of women and 43 percent of males had experienced workplace harassment. There is a lot of work to be done to promote secure work settings, from verbal harassment to unwanted sexual approaches and outright sexual assault. Employers are accountable for maintaining a safe and respectful workplace by taking the necessary efforts to prevent all forms of harassment, discrimination, and violence. As it is linked to employment law compliance, this employer responsibility is not just ethical, but also legal.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant problem that no company should ignore. A harassment lawsuit is expensive in terms of money, poor for morale, and harmful to one's hard-earned reputation. The digital workplace harassment compliance training programs can safeguard your company from such negative consequences while also establishing a good work environment free of harassment and discrimination based on gender, color, disability, or any other protected group.

Hostile Workplace

Sexual approaches, demands for sexual favors, as well as other physical or verbal approaches that unnecessarily interfere with an individual's work performance by establishing a challenging situation are all examples of a hostile work environment.

The following are some instances of behaviors that lead to a hostile workplace:

  • Prevalence of discriminatory practices.
  • Commenting about a person's physique that is sexual or derogatory.
  • Sexually provocative or pornographic images.
  • Sexual or offensive gestures.

The EEOC's Suggestions for Harassment Compliance Training

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States is a federal organization charged with implementing laws that protect job applicants and workers from discrimination. A large part of their job, aside from litigating discrimination cases, is lobbying for harassment avoidance through research, community engagement, and the development of educational tools for the general public.

The agency never ceased to emphasize the need to have anti-harassment policies that are routinely and effectively implemented by companies. Several suggestions for addressing harassment were made in a study produced by the EEOC Selected Task Force on the Research of Harassment in the Workplace, including the need to give harassment training.

Harassment Compliance Training

The EEOC took notice of testimonials from employers and trainers, notwithstanding the need for more scientific evidence on the most effective forms of training to avoid harassment. They found that compliance training is a crucial aspect of any harassment preventative measures based on this empirical information. However, merely delivering training and then calling it a day is insufficient. Its efficacy is increased when it is used as part of a larger effort to solve the problem rather than as a stand-alone solution.

Contents of Successful Employee and Manager Compliance Training

Considering that compliance training is aimed at informing employees about what constitutes harassment, it should not merely focus on the legal definition. It's great to have a clear understanding of what constitutes criminal conduct. Employees should, however, be aware of some activities that, while not illegal, are regarded as unpleasant and, if left unchecked, can evolve to illegal harassment. The EEOC's conclusions, based on information received from practitioners, are listed below.

  • Employers should also define what practices or behavior are not considered harassment.
  • Compliance training should be tailored to the specific circumstances or features of the workplace. Following a one-size-fits-all strategy is not sufficient. 
  • Employees must be aware of their rights and obligations in the event of workplace harassment via compliance training. Guidelines on how victims and witnesses may report a harassment occurrence internally should be included in the training.
  • Employees should have a clear understanding of how to file formal complaints. They must be told how reports will be examined and guaranteed that reporting an occurrence will not result in retaliation.
  • Senior management must be instructed on how to deal with behavior or conduct that might lead to unlawful harassment, in addition to standard compliance training for all workers.
  • Compliance training should develop a feeling of responsibility in all employees, particularly managers and supervisors. Employees will be guaranteed that the firm or organization takes harassment properly and that it will not be allowed in the workplace if senior officials at the top of the organizational hierarchy are held accountable.

Principles for a Successful Compliance Training Program's Structure

  • To create trust and provide the impression that leadership is sincerely dedicated to removing present harassment and avoiding future occurrences of undesired behaviors, those at the top levels must be fully and visibly engaged in training programs.
  • Anti-harassment training should be required regularly, and important messages should be reiterated.
  • At the very least, training should be given once a year. Check for any state-specific training needs, as legislation may change depending on where your headquarters is situated and where your workers work.
  • New hire training is sometimes forgotten; all workers' onboarding programs should include required anti-harassment training.
  • Employees and management should each have their training programs.
  • Anti-harassment training for management is a vital activity to prepare managers for future success as they go from individual contributor roles to managing responsibilities.
  • Qualified trainers should conduct training sessions live and interactively so that employees learn what behavior is regarded inappropriate through genuine instances. If the organization cannot afford a live trainer, online training must be adapted to the unique needs of the workplace.
  • Employers should assess the training results to determine what works and what doesn't.
  • The need to reinforce the training content is critical for long-term success.

Other Sorts of Training

The EEOC Select Task Force suggests two forms of training to help firms build a culture of respect in the workplace because organizational culture has a substantial influence on the occurrence of problems such as harassment, discrimination, or bullying.

  • Civility in the Workplace Training

The major goal of workplace civility training is to show how civility and respect are demonstrated in the workplace, motivating other employees to do the same. Workplace civility training may cover topics such as workplace standards, suitable and incorrect workplace behaviors, and even skills training such as interpersonal skills, dispute resolution, and effective supervision approaches.

  • Bystander Intervention Training

Witness and observer bystander intervention training, is often taught in schools as a component of a violence or sexual assault prevention approach, but it is increasingly recognized as an important component of workplace anti-harassment training. Employees' sensitivity to the kinds of harassment that may be occurring around them may be increased by this type of training, which empowers them to take some action rather than merely stand by.

Identifying what constitutes objectionable behavior based on a person's protected feature under employment non-discrimination legislation and describing methods to respond when witnessing a harassment incidence are some of the topics covered in such training.

In a Nutshell

It is critical to take a holistic strategy to prevent workplace harassment. Compliance with the law only entails performing the bare minimum. The preventative efforts of an organization should not simply be about averting legal concerns; they should be motivated by a genuine desire to establish a respectful working environment for workers. Setting a positive example in a world full of hazardous workplaces may go a long way. Employers can employ professionals like GetImpactly to aid them with holistic harassment compliance training.

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